Monday, June 20, 2011

Notes on a local literary festival, part one
(& parts two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine)

New media politics of networked space and new communities of interest, from global and local perspectives, seem likely to lead to more scenes within scenes, bubbles within bubbles - organized in the UK around county and district, town and city suburbs, and within region and locality.
- Mike Weller, 'Home'Baked: literary artzines in the age of the internet' (Openned Zine #1, 2010)

And just over one year later, the writer of this published monograph is invited to curate two evenings for Beckenham Literary Festival - the 2011 BecFest to be held within a bubble-space, in the open public lending section of Beckenham library.

BecFest has been organized both simultaneously, and within, a big borough-wide Bromley Literary Festival (Beckenham is one suburb of London's largest borough and dormitory town).

Both festivals are taking place as major shake-ups of Bromley's Library services occur, as they are in other parts of the UK. This means threatened closures, borough mergers, and library staff redundancies.

Bromley Literary Festival seems, to the writer, to be taking place in one locality and reality. BecFest in another locality and reality. Neither locality or reality has any notion of what the present writer's practise is. But a formal invitation to take part in some way arrived by old-fashioned letter post. The writer thinks the library service may think the writer a local historian because they did buy copies of his Harriet Staunton: A Victorian Murder Ballad (visual associations, 1999) for the reference section of its borough branches.

The invitation was not a specific invitation to read or perform. So the writer will not read or perform.

So does the writer agree to take part or not?

Yes, for the purposes of testing bubble-within-bubble-within-bubble theory in practice. This will be carried out by creating a third reality. Beckenham Bubble number one and two. Linguistically innovative place-bubbles.

Beckenham librarian organizing BecFest, Vanessa Williamson, is encouraging about place-bubbles. There is perhaps a sense of last opportunity for poetry and poetics to be discussed and performed in a public space without pressure of providing profitable returns.

'Until Breton and Trotsky's Manifesto: Towards a Free Revolutionary Art is distributed free to everyone and the workers' democratic government is formed,' whispers ever-optimistic Mick.

On evenings Wednesday, June 29 and Monday, July 4th - there is likely to be numerous poetry events elsewhere - in cafés, pub-function rooms, university faculties, poetry-hegemonized venues - perhaps other libraries and litfests. In these realities nothing clashes when bubbles burst


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